I'm ill and self-harming after hearing my head teacher husband tried to rape my friend

DEAR DEIDRE: AFTER hearing a story about my husband trying to force himself on my pal, I don’t know what to think or do.

The anxiety is making me ill and I’ve started self-harming.

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I am 48 and have been happily married to my husband, who is 50, for 20 years. We have three teenage children together.

He is the head teacher of our local primary school and is charming, kind and intelligent.

But about 15 years ago, soon after the birth of our second daughter, we went to a party with my then best friend.

She was off with me after-wards and, a few weeks later, in tears, she told me that when they were alone together my husband had tried to kiss her.

He said he was so drunk he couldn’t remember anything. I pushed it to the back of my mind because I had a baby to look after.

Things grew weird with my pal and our friendship drifted. Then, a few years later – again just after giving birth – I caught my husband texting compliments to a female neighbour.

He said it was innocent but it made me feel insecure. Again, I chose to ignore it and move on.

But a few weeks ago, I bumped into my ex-friend’s sister. She seemed alarmed to see me.

Eventually, she told me her sister had insinuated that my husband hadn’t just tried to kiss her. He’d tried to rape her.

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I want to trust my husband but why would she lie? This is not just flirting or infidelity. We are talking a sex crime here.

My marriage, my life, will have been a lie.

I feel like I am going to have a breakdown. I’ve started picking my skin until it bleeds and self-medicating with painkillers. I need help.

DEIDRE SAYS: You are under an enormous amount of stress and you need some urgent help to stop you taking painkillers and self-harming. Keeping this inside is eating you up.

Please make an appointment with your GP, who can refer you for counselling.

My support packs on counselling and self-harm should also help. If you need to talk to someone urgently, get in touch with Supportline (supportline.org.uk, 01708 765 200).

Once you feel stronger, you can think about contacting your friend again and asking to speak about what happened. The same goes for confronting your husband.

But as this attempted rape happened so long ago, it might not be possible to get to the truth. It may be a case of her word against his.

Either way, none of this is your fault, so look after yourself and concentrate on getting yourself back on an even keel before anything else.

One step at a time, ideally with a counsellor by your side, as you decide your next move.

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